Controlling for Changes in Test Conditions when Estimating Education Intervention Effects

by Matthew D. Baird, John F. Pane

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Education evaluations that analyze student achievement typically use baseline scores to control for unobserved ability. These analyses rely on the assumption that the conditions under which the test was administered are consistent from pretest to posttest. We caution evaluators to examine this assumption, provide a framework for evaluation under changes in test conditions, and demonstrate an application of this framework. We examine a case in which treatment status is correlated with the changes in test durations. We test three estimation strategies to account for this, each finding bias in estimation of treatment effects when not accounting for the changes in test conditions. We also discuss what to do in absence of such information.

This research was conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.